Denison city staff and community volunteers rolled up their sleeves and got to work in beautifying the community Friday morning.
The city officially launched Project Neighborhood Revitalization that saw nearly 60 volunteers and city canvas a portion of the city and undertake cleaning projects ranging from brush pick up to painting of residences and the demolition of dilapidated structures..
"This is our inaugural neighborhood cleanup event where we partner with members of the community, get some city staff out here, and just do a blitz on a three to four block of Denison and just clean up the city," City Manager Jud Rex said.
The project spawned from the city’s ongoing efforts to maintain code compliance throughout the city. It was unveiled during a town hall meeting in February, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic delayed its launch.
"We are always in an enforcement position but we want to show the community that we aren’t just willing to clean up infrastructure and the streets, but also help people in the community that can’t help themselves," Rex said, referring to the elderly and those with mobility issues.
"We are always in an enforcement position but we want to show the community that we aren’t just willing to clean up infrastructure and the streets, but also help people in the community that can’t help themselves." Elderly, those with mobility issues.
For this first wave of improvements, city crews and volunteers targeted 10 properties along North Travis.
Among the volunteers who helped on Friday was Cody Bogard, who spent the day working on an older home owned by Jo Manning. Bogard said the home would need to have an old layer of paint removed before it could be repainted in a dark gray. The building also had several boards that needed to be replaced before it could be painted.
"This is quite a project to do in one day. We are talking about scraping, and then painting and then patchwork as we go," he said.
Bogard was among several volunteers with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who have done several community projects in the past.
"Its helping other people and who doesn’t want to help out other people who need it," he said. "A lot of times we pick and choose who we help whether it be a family member of a group you know. However, I find that helping someone you don’t know gives you the most joy and in turn blesses your life."
For her part, Manning said she has lived in the home, which was once owned by her parents for about 30 years. She said she was approached by city staff who offered to help her improve the home if she wanted assistance.
"I can’t tell you the words," she said. "We just really appreciate it. I appreciate everything they are doing for me."
Rex said the city currently plans to hold similarly events quarterly, but no hard plans have been made for the next clean up.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.